the genus Melocactus, containing about 30 species, in the family Cactaceae, native to the West Indies, Central America, and tropical South America and distinguished by a woolly and bristly mass (cephalium) topping the plant that forms when the plant reaches a certain age, varying with the species. Carmine to pink flowers push up through the cephalium, with only the tips being visible, followed by fruits, which are usually pink. The common names Turk's head or Turk's cap refer to the reddish, crownlike cephalium. Melocactus species are also called melon-cacti or melones for their size and shape. The Jamaican species M. communis is up to 100 cm (about 3 feet) tall and 30 cm (about 1 foot) wide.
Learn more about melon cactus with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.